Before our recent Florida trip, I was really, really nervous about flying on the plane with Ellie. She hates to cuddle so imagining keeping her on my lap for six hours was worrisome. By some miracle, the plane ride turned out much better than expected. The whole trip was FABULOUS! Here’s just a few of our tricks to traveling with our toddler:
1: Bring an umbrella stroller. We didn’t want to bring our huge, heavy stroller with us. It’s a pain to fold up and carry, plus I didn’t want to worry about it getting damaged on the plane. We purchased this umbrella stroller from Toys R Us for $20. It was by far the best investment for our trip. In fact, I think Ellie prefers it over our other stroller. Imagine that! It’s small, lightweight, easy to fold, plus the handles aren’t super short. This stroller went with us everywhere: the beach, Disneyworld, all over the airport, restaurants, shopping, and it was amazing. We still use it all the time now that we are at home. Plus, we hung our backpacks and suitcases on the handles, making it way easier to transport our luggage through the airport. Highly recommended to any traveler!
2: Make everything take twice as long. I did my research before we left home and this was one of the best tips I read! When we took out snacks, we made them take forever. We read her books five times each. We played with the window shade for a good twenty minutes. Make anything and everything take twice as long! We didn’t take along as many toys as I thought we would. We brought her baby doll, some books, little wooden peg people and her tiny toy dogs (which she loves and adores), and snacks. We also brought along the tablet with movies, songs, shows, and games with her headphones. She didn’t use the tablet as much as we thought she would. Looking out the window was far more entertaining! Also, the SkyMall magazine bought us a good half hour of entertainment, on every flight. We looked for all the dogs and cats, she loved it!
3: Board last. We had the option to board the plane first, but with our little munchkin, we knew that would never work. Make her sit for an extra half hour? No thanks! Instead, we ran around the airport and got all our wiggles out, then boarded. Since we were the very last to board, we got to check in our carry-ons for free! We were happy that we didn’t have to deal with them at our layover. Plus, almost every time we boarded she was so worn out from running around she fell asleep before we even took off!
4: Don’t forget the birth certificate. Many airlines will want to prove that your child is under two if she’s flying on your lap. Just in case, bring the birth certificate or passport!
5: Stop stressing. Your toddler is going to whine a little, their sleep schedule will be thrown off, and they may kick the old man next to you while you’re nursing (sorry sir!), but the less you stress, the better your vacation will be. Be prepared, then go with the flow. We’re gearing up for another, longer adventure in the next few months, so I’ll be curious to see if everything goes as smoothly as this trip did! Crossing our fingers!